Belgium giants Club Brugge bagged qualification to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday after defeating Austrian side LASK 3-1 on aggregate in the playoff.
Senegal international Krepin Diatta, who played full throttle in the clash, believes Brugge’s passage to the next round of Europe’s elite competition will offer a good platform for African players in the team to showcase their worth.
“We have half a dozen African players here (Brugge). We are all young, in our twenties and quite unknown, so playing in the UEFA Champions League will give us needed exposure,” Diatta said.
The 20-year-old striker, who was named Best Young Player of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, claims Brugge will fight for a honourable finish in the UEFA Champions League this season and that his African teammates think the same.
“We got to this stage not by luck. We worked hard and the work will continue. I think we will progress in the competition and finish with honours. My fellow African brothers here are excited too and think the same way,” he said.
Five African players were involved in the Blauw-Zwart’s triumph at the Jan Breydel Stadium in Bruges, with Nigeria’s 21-year-old Emmanuel Dennis scoring the winner in the 89th minute after coming on as a second half substitute.
Ivory Coast’s Simon Deli, David Okereke from Nigeria and Clinton Mata of Angola are the other Africans who played with Brugge on the night.
The UEFA Champions League group stage draw will hold on Thursday, August 29 in Monaco.